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Shoreditch Sisters Love Fashion & Hate Sweatshops!

14 December 2009, Previous events

Vintage galore!

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Advice on settlers' goods slated

10 December 2009, Press releases

Charity demands supermarkets trade ban

British ministers today came under fire over new voluntary guidance on supermarkets' trade in produce from Israeli settlement farms.

The anti-poverty charity War on Want attacked the government's failure to take stronger action that would end the sale of settlement goods.

Yasmin Khan, senior campaigns officer at War on Want, said: "By selling produce from Israeli settlements, British supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose are profiting from Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

"Voluntary advice on labelling fails to deal with the issue. The government should impose an immediate and total ban on the sale of settlement goods in Britain.

"The government's position is utterly contradictory. Ministers call settlements obstacles to peace, yet sustain their existence by allowing UK retailers to trade with them."

The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs issued the guidance over three years after the charity first highlighted the matter in a report that named supermarkets which sold goods from illegal Israeli settlements.

The report said the government risked charges of complicity in Israel's breaches of international law.

The new advice says the settlements flout article 49 (6) of the 1949 fourth Geneva convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its own civilian population into occupied territory.

It adds that settlements make the establishment of a viable Palestinian state more difficult and that Israel has not yet met its duties under political agreements on freezing all settlement activity.

The government says traders and retailers may wish to indicate whether the product originated from an Israeli settlement or from Palestinian producers.

This could take the form, for example, of "Produce of the West Bank (Israeli settlement produce)" or "Produce of the West Bank (Palestinian produce)".

The government considers traders would mislead consumers and almost certainly commit an offence if they declare produce from the occupied Palestinian territories (including from the West Bank) as "Produce of Israel".

This would apply whether the goods were from a Palestinian producer or from an Israeli settlement in the territories.


NOTES TO EDITORS

  • War on Want's report Profiting from the Occupation is at www.waronwant.org/campaigns/fighting-occupation/palestine/inform/12573-profiting-from-the-occupation
  • The US president Barack Obama, the United Nations and the European Union have made repeated calls on Israel to halt its settlements expansion and condemned them as a barrier to peace in the region
  • Britain is a leading market for exports of Israeli fresh agricultural produce and the biggest market for state-owned Israeli company Agrexco.
  • Agrexco has become a target for activists in the UK over its business in the Israeli-occupied Jordan Valley.

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

 

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Primark shamed at protest

09 December 2009, Latest news

Primark protestLast Friday we gave Primark's CEO and its shareholders a piece of our mind. At a demonstration outside the retailer's Oxford Street flagship store, we distributed copies of a letter to Paul Marchant, Primark's CEO. The letter, signed by over 2,250 supporters, demanded immediate action to end the scandal of sweatshops. Following the demonstration War on Want personally delivered the letter to Primark at the AGM of its parent company, Associated British Foods.

The protest came only weeks after Primark announced a massive 20 percent jump in sales to £2.3 billion in the past year, with profits up 8 percent to £252 million. By contrast, Primark garment workers toil up to 84 hours a week and earn as little as £19 a month - less than half a living wage.

Primark says they have introduced an ethical code of conduct, but our research shows a huge contrast between these claims and the reality in their factories. Khorshed Alam, the Dhaka-based researcher behind our reports, told us that "none of Primark's claims - so-called ethical staff, training and audits - have made any difference to the workers' poverty."

We cannot rely on these fashion retailers to regulate themselves. We have stood up to Primark and now we need to let Gordon Brown know we're not backing down. Sign up to Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops and get your friends to join before Tuesday, when we take our campaign directly to Downing Street.

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Factory employment rights under threat

08 December 2009, Latest news

» Original article in Central American Report

Bosses have used the coup to squeeze workers, says Laia Blanch of anti-poverty organisation War on Want.

COLECTIVA DE MUJERES Hondureñas (Honduran Women's Collective - CODEMUH) is a women-led rights organisation and long-term partner of War on Want that works to empower women workers in Honduras' Export Processing Zones (EPZs). Over the last 20 years, the maquiladora industry has become an integral part of the Honduran economy. CODEMUH has monitored and documented violations of human and employment rights in its garment factories, especially among women workers.

The Honduran maquila industry is one of the largest exporters of textile products to the US and the leading exporter to Central American and Caribbean countries, and is highly dependent on these markets. Employing around 133,000 people, of whom 70 percent are women, the main product is clothing, including well-known brand names such as WalMart, Adidas, Hanes, HBI, Fruit of the Loom and GAP. Though the maquila industry has brought much needed investment to Honduras, the benefits are limited to a minority and have come at the expense of basic employment rights.

In the aftermath of the coup, CODEMUH, together with other Honduran grassroots organisations, has campaigned against abuses of human and employment rights in the maquilas. In July, it reported that workers were forced by factory owners to join in the so-called Marchas de la Paz (Peace Walks) organised by the de facto president, Roberto Micheletti, and financed by the business community with the support of the military. While the majority of workers opposed the coup, they felt forced to attend these rallies two or three times a month for fear of losing their jobs.

They were told they would be paid the daily minimum wage (around 100 lempiras - roughly £3), but CODEMUH informed War on Want they received nothing. In fact, after attending demonstrations they were forced to make up for ‘lost' time by working an extra day. They were also required to work two additional hours each day without pay in response to a curfew imposed by the de facto government. CODEMUH has condemned this flagrant violation of Article 23 of the Honduran Labour Code, which states that "workers cannot take advantage of the profit or utilities made by the owners and never assume their risk and losses".

CODEMUH has denounced the actions of the Honduran Council of Private Companies, which has used the crisis to try to push through reforms that would relax employment laws in EPZs. Under the proposed changes, factory owners would be allowed to employ workers on a temporary or part-time basis. For EPZ workers, who already face appalling working conditions, long hours and low pay, such legislation would result in the loss of social security benefits, more job insecurity and other long term consequences affecting their livelihoods. CODEMUH has campaigned against these proposed reforms, while raising awareness among women workers of the impact of the coup on their civil liberties and employment rights. Working in partnership with CODEMUH, War on Want is dedicated to exposing and taking action against the violation of human rights in sweatshops.

Worker's testimony - San Pedro Sula

My name is María López* and I'm a Honduran garment worker at the Elcatex factory of the Canahuati- Lovable company group. We produce for international companies such as Hanes Brand Inc, HBI, WalMart, JC Penny and Jockey. A few days ago, the factory owner forced us to participate in the Marchas de la Paz organised by the de facto government, business class and Evangelical and Catholic Church leaders. They mobilised four buses full of men and women workers. During the protest they told us to shout "Viva Micheletti", and when the CNN helicopter was approaching us we were told to say "Queremos paz"(We want peace) and "Qué viva el Presidente Micheletti" (Long live President Micheletti).

I participated in this march because I was not aware of the situation. And what will I do without my job?

* This worker's name has been changed to protect her identity

» For more information on CODEMUH, visit their website (in Spanish)

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New sweatshop row hits Primark

03 December 2009, Press releases

  1. Press release
  2. Research
  3. Picture opportunity

NEWS PEG: Friday, 4 December 2009 London Primark hails sales growth at its annual meeting

EMBARGO: 00.01 hrs GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009


£19 a month workers demo targets AGM

Primark's ethical claims face a pounding today (Friday, 4 December) as new research exposes another sweatshop where garment workers producing its clothes toil up to 84 hours a week and can earn as little as £19 a month - less than half a living wage.

Anti-poverty campaigners will demonstrate outside Primark's flagship London store only hours before the cheap fashion retailer celebrates huge sales expansion at its parent company's annual meeting.

Activists from the charity War on Want will protest at Primark exploiting workers making T-shirts, skirts, trousers and babywear in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.

And the campaigners will then go into the meeting with Stacey Dooley from the television series Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts.

The charity's research (briefing below) found employees at the factory earn as little as £19.42 a month (2200 taka) before overtime - less than half the living wage of at least £39.74 a month (4500 taka). They are compelled to toil up to 84 hours a week, but ordered to tell buyers they earn a proper wage and face no excessive working hours. The factory also produces clothes for New Look and Zara.

One garment worker, Madhovi, aged 21, said: "My mother is losing her sight in our family's village. The pay is so little that I cannot afford to send money for her treatment. Happy days will never dawn. All our dreams will remain unfulfilled."

Another worker, Ratna, also 21, said: "My husband has a terminal illness. I have paid for his treatment, but can only to afford to see our small daughter once in two years."

Simon McRae, senior campaigns officer at War on Want, said: "Our research underlines the abuse which faces overseas garment workers producing high street clothes. Shoppers cannot rely on retailers to police themselves. Now Gordon Brown must act."

Primark says the retailer has doubled audits and inspections of its factories, appointed an ethical trade director and more ethical trade managers, trained buyers, senior personnel and suppliers in ethical trading, and implemented a new online audit management system.

Khorshed Alam, the Dhaka-based researcher behind the latest study and Fashion Victims II, said: "None of Primark's claims - so-called ethical staff, training and audits - have made any difference to the workers' poverty."

Amirul Haque Amin, president of the National Garment Workers' Federation, said: "This new research and the study last year show typically bad factories which abuse workers' rights."

Thousands of people have supported War on Want's Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops campaign, the biggest-ever call for British government action to stop fashion retailers exploiting overseas workers.


NOTE TO EDITORS

War on Want will protest from 9.00-10.00 am GMT on Friday, 4 December 2009 outside Primark's flagship store at 499 Oxford Street, London W1C 2QQ
The annual meeting of Primark's parent company, Associated British Foods, takes place at 11.00 am on Friday (4 December) at the TUC, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS.
Last month Primark announced a massive 20 per cent jump in sales to £2.3 billion for the year to 12 September and profits up 8 per cent to £252 million.
The War on Want report which showed Primark workers exploited at three other factories can be found here

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728


RESEARCH

Comparison between Primark's ethical claims and reality

INTRODUCTION

War on Want's research has exposed how sweatshop conditions abroad are a direct consequence of the business practices of high street shops here in Britain. These companies squeeze suppliers to obtain cheap garments in bulk that can be sold to UK consumers at bargain prices. The conditions in factories supplying British shops are scandalous. In garment sweatshops across Bangladesh, workers earn poverty wages, work long hours, face abuse and are denied trade union representation. War on Want's groundbreaking Fashion Victims reports published in 2006 and 2008 uncovered shocking treatment in factories supplying Tesco, Asda and Primark.

Primark has responded to criticism by making a number of ethical promises about improving standards in its supply chain, including increased audits and inspections of factories, the appointment of an ethical trade director and more ethical trade managers and the training of buyers, senior personnel and suppliers in ethical trade, and implemented a new online audit management system. As a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, Primark has committed to ensuring workers receive a living wage. The ETI's code of conduct also calls for decent working conditions, a 48-hour working week and the right to join a trade union.

However, trusting companies to clean up their act simply does not work. The latest War on Want research exposes Primark's continuing failure to comply with the ETI standards to which the company has signed up. War on Want has interviewed workers making Primark clothes at a sweatshop factory in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. Workers in the factory earn as little as half a living wage, work up to 84 hours a week, face harassment and are not allowed to join a union.

Workers in the factory and War on Want's partner in Bangladesh the National Garment Workers' Federation, say that the factory is typical. The factory also supplies New Look and Zara.

War on Want has launched Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops, a campaign to end sweatshop exploitation once and for all. War on Want is calling on the government to regulate the fashion industry, with firm provisions to guarantee basic rights for workers, including a living wage and the right to join a union.

PRIMARK CODE OF CONDUCT TESTED

Primark's code of conduct lists "the standards we require from our suppliers". War on Want's research contrasts these standards with the findings of our latest research.

  1. PRIMARK CODE: EMPLOYMENT IS FREELY CHOSEN
    There is no forced, bonded or involuntary prison labour.

    WAR ON WANT RESEARCH:
    Overtime is mandatory. It is not considered optional. Workers at the factory toil on average 70 hours a week, including 20 hours of compulsory overtime. The workers say that if they refuse overtime their bosses deduct from their pay the wage for their overtime the previous day.

  2. PRIMARK CODE: FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION AND THE RIGHT TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING ARE RESPECTED
    Workers, without distinction, have the right to join or form trade unions of their own choosing and to bargain collectively. The employer adopts an open attitude towards the activities of trade unions and their organisational activities. Workers' representatives are not discriminated against and have access to carry out their representative functions in the workplace. Such representative functions should include a workers' committee, with elected members where workers can confidentially raise concerns they may have with regard to these guidelines. Where the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining is restricted under law, the employer facilitates, and does not hinder, the development of parallel means for independent and free association and bargaining.

    WAR ON WANT RESEARCH
    :
    According to the workers in the factory, trade unions have been banned.

  3. PRIMARK CODE: WORKING CONDITIONS ARE SAFE AND HYGIENIC
    A safe and hygienic working environment shall be provided, bearing in mind the prevailing knowledge of the industry and of any specific hazards. Access to clean toilet facilities and to potable water, and, if appropriate, sanitary facilities for food storage shall be provided.

    WAR ON WANT RESEARCH:
    The factory lacks any safe drinking water. Workers must risk their health by using tap water. The supplier employs 1000 workers, with 350 making Primark clothes. They share small, unhygienic toilets. The toilets and wash rooms do not even provide tap water.

  4. PRIMARK CODE: LIVING WAGES ARE PAID
    Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week meet, at a minimum, national legal standards or industry benchmark standards, whichever is higher. In any event wages should always be enough to meet basic needs and to provide some discretionary income. All workers shall be provided with written and understandable information about their employment conditions in respect to wages before they enter employment and about the particulars of their wages for the pay period concerned each time that they are paid. Deductions from wages as a disciplinary measure shall not be permitted nor shall any deductions from wages not provided for by national law be permitted without the express permission of the worker concerned. All disciplinary measures should be recorded.

    WAR ON WANT RESEARCH:
    Workers earn as little as £19.42 a month (2200 taka) before overtime - less than half the living wage of at least £39.74 a month (4500 taka). Employees on average receive £20.31 a month (2300 taka), with the highest on £26.50 a month (3000 taka). None of these workers can afford nutritious food, decent housing and adequate healthcare. The vast majority of the employees live in slum homes - one room, often shared with up to three family members - without access to clean water or hygienic toilets. They share kitchens, toilets and bathrooms with other families. Workers interviewed are exhausted and malnourished. Employees who work standing up suffer from swollen legs. Most of the employees reported that in recent months one or two family members had suffered health problems such as stomach pain, dysentery, jaundice, diarrhoea or heart disease.

    The supplier fails to give workers any written employment information, such as their appointment letter or any other document which complies with national labour laws or decent conditions in line with the standards of the United Nations agency the International Labour Organisation. Wages are paid as late as 10 days into the next month, with up to 15 days' wait for overtime pay. The workers said they received no wage slips. Employees cannot plan their childcare as they only learn of any need to undertake compulsory overtime on arrival at the factory. Anyone who fails to return after a lunch break forfeits a full day's pay. Workers also lose pay for lateness or absence without prior consent.

  5. PRIMARK CODE: WORKING HOURS ARE NOT EXCESSIVE
    Working hours comply with national laws and benchmark industry standards, whichever affords greater protection. Workers shall not be required to work in excess of 48 hours per week and shall be provided with at least one day off for every 7 day period on average. Overtime must be on a voluntary basis, shall not exceed 12 hours a week, shall not be demanded on a regular basis and shall always be compensated at a premium rate.

    WAR ON WANT RESEARCH:
    Workers interviewed toil six days a week and between 9 to 14 hours a day, including one hour for lunch. Overtime is mandatory. Depending on the workload, employees can be made to work seven days a week and can finish as late as 10pm. An average working week is 70 hours long . However, workers can be made to work for up to 84 hours a week. Employees say they receive just 60 per cent extra pay for overtime which should be paid at the full rate earned in normal hours.

  6. PRIMARK CODE: NO DISCRIMINATION IS PRACTISED
    There is no discrimination in hiring, compensation, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, caste, national origin, religion, age, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, union membership or political affiliation.

    WAR ON WANT RESEARCH:
    According to workers, men obtain better paid jobs than women. The supplier's recruitment favours single women rather than mothers with childcare responsibilities. The factory shows buyers its daycare centre for children, but no child is allowed there, according to War on Want's researcher.

  7. PRIMARK CODE: NO HARSH OR INHUMANE TREATMENT IS ALLOWED
    Physical abuse or discipline, the threat of physical abuse, sexual or other harassment and verbal abuse or other forms of intimidation shall be prohibited.

    WAR ON WANT RESEARCH:
    Women workers say they suffer physical and verbal abuse from supervisors for reasons such as enquiries about pay and overtime or requests for leave.

 

PRIMARK ETHICAL MOVES TESTED

PRIMARK ACTION
Primark says the retailer has doubled audits and inspections of its factories this year, appointed an ethical trade director and more ethical trade managers, trained buyers, senior personnel and suppliers in ethical trading, and implemented a new online audit management system.

WAR ON WANT RESEARCH
Interviewees said the factory's owners ensure the workplace and toilets are clean for buyers' visits. Employees are instructed to tell buyers they have a comfortable work environment, receive a proper wage and face no excessive hours or forced overtime.

Methodology

The above information is based on interviews conducted with 18 workers at one factory in Bangladesh during October 2009.

  • The ages of workers ranged from 19 to 28 years, with 22 years the average.
  • Sixteen women and two men were interviewed, reflecting the gender demographic of the factory.
  • Of these workers, ten were married and eight had children.
  • The factory, typical of Dhaka suppliers, makes clothes for Primark and other retailers including two other British chains, New Look and Zara.
  • Employees' names have been changed and the factory's identity withheld to protect workers from reprisals.
  • The exchange rate from taka to sterling has been calculated at £1 = 113 taka , the average rate for October 2009.

CASE STUDIES

Madhovi
Madhovi, aged 21, comes from Bogra in northern Bangladesh and moved to the capital Dhaka for work in a garment factory. She lost her farmer father four years ago. Her mother works as a maid and lives with Madhovi's sister and brother in their rural village.

Madhovi, who earns £21.57 (2500 taka) a month - barely half a living wage - says: "Somehow, I survive on this money, but feel miserable. Simple food and rent gobbles up the money. Happy days will never dawn. All our dreams will remain unfulfilled.

"Both my mother and I wear wornout dresses from other women. She is so poor that the family cannot always eat. I can only go to see her once a year.

"My mother is losing her sight. The pay is so little that I cannot afford to send money for her treatment.

"When I was ill, I could not pay for a doctor. I don't tell my family about my misery. I always say, I am fine. My pay has not increased for two years.

"I manage to send some money home so that my sister and brother can go to school. My mother senses my hardship and wants to take them out of school.

"But I want to see them educated. I don't want them to work in the garment industry. I will eat little and try to send money for them."

Ratna
Ratna is also 21 and from Kamarpara in northern Bangladesh. Her parents died when she was small.

Ratna had to give up school due to poverty.

Later she married a man and both came to Dhaka for work in garment factories.

Ratna, who also earns £21.57 (2500 taka) a month, says: "My husband has a terminal illness. I have paid for his treatment, but can only afford to see our small daughter once in two years.

"How can I afford the travel costs after meeting all our expenses? Prices have soared sky high. Everything is costly."

Ratna had to borrow £43.14 (5000 taka) in order to be reunited with her three-year-old daughter during the recent Muslim festival Eid.

Ratna said: "She wants to see us. I must pay this money back in instalments. I will have to eat just plain rice and lentils.

"Because her father is sick, I want to see my daughter become a doctor to treat the poor."


PICTURE OPPORTUNITY

WHEN? 9.00-10,00 am GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009
WHERE? Primark's flagship store, 499 Oxford Street, London W1C 2QQ
WHAT? Anti-poverty campaigners - including Stacey Dooley from TV series Blood, Sweat and T-shirts - protest first outside the store and then go into the annual meeting of the retailer's parent company

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Over 2,000 sign our letter to Primark

01 December 2009, Latest news

Over 2,000 sign our letter to Primark CEO Paul Marchant calling for an end to sweatshop exploitation.

War on Want's letter to Primark CEO Paul Marchant now has over 2,000 signatures calling for an end to Primark's exploitation of the sweatshop workers who produce its clothes. Primark has ignored their plight - but with your help we will tell Primark and its shareholders that enough is enough.

On 4 December 2009, Primark's parent company will hold its Annual General Meeting in Central London, and we will be there to hand over our letter and deliver our message that sweatshop exploitation has to stop.

Thousands more have already signed up to War on Want's Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops campaign that calls on the goverment to end sweatshop labour. Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops is also endorsed by television star Jo Wood, pop singer Little Boots, actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Ashley Jensen and clothes designer Betty Jackson. Among other backers are TV personality Tony Robinson, actor-playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah, comedians Jo Brand and Francesca Martinez and gardener Bob Flowerdew.

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Two thousand stand up to Primark

29 November 2009, Latest news

Our letter to Primark CEO Paul Marchant now has over 2,000 signatures calling for an end to Primark's exploitation of the sweatshop workers who produce its clothes. Primark has ignored their plight - but with your help we can tell Primark and its shareholders that enough is enough.

We will deliver the letter, co-signed by thousands of you, to shareholders at the AGM of Primark's parent company on 4 December. We want to make it clear once and for all that their exploitation has to stop.

It's not too late to add your name - or ask your friends to add theirs. Your support has already got some of Britain's worst exploiters to acknowledge the problem. But now we need action. Help us hold Primark to account.

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'Kill off Doha' trade warning

26 November 2009, Press releases

NEWS PEGS

  • Saturday, 28 November Geneva Anti-globalisation demonstration just before world trade ministers' summit
  • Monday, 30 November-Wednesday, 2 December 2009 Geneva World Trade Organisation ministerial talks
  • Monday, 30 November Tenth anniversary of protests at the global trade meeting, Seattle

WTO deal 'threatens millions of jobs'

Campaigners today warn that millions more people face poverty and unemployment if the current round of world trade negotiations are carried through to their conclusion. The alert comes from the anti-poverty charity War on Want as trade ministers prepare for the World Trade Organisation's summit in Geneva from Monday (30 November).

The summit marks the 10th anniversary of the collapse of the WTO summit in Seattle, where protestors and developing countries fought off pressure for a new trade round. Although the WTO launched a fresh round of negotiations in Doha two years later, those talks have collapsed again and again as wealthy nations have tried to force their free market agenda on developing countries while refusing to make meaningful cuts in their own farm subsidies.

War on Want executive director John Hilary said: "The WTO has failed to deliver. No amount of wishful thinking will transform it into a body that can offer solutions to the challenges facing our planet today. The Doha round should be abandoned without further delay, and a new process put in train to undo the damage already done by the WTO."

War on Want challenges recent claims made by WTO director general Pascal Lamy that concluding the Doha round will benefit poor people. According to the charity's research, completing the round would put 7.5 million workers at risk in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, Tunisia and Uruguay, and millions more in other countries. It also cites a World Bank study which shows 80% of gains from the Doha round will go to high-income economies, and that the six countries of China, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Argentina and Brazil will reap almost all the rest. According to the charity, academic assessments now concur that the poorest countries will lose out as a result of the Doha round.

War on Want notes the global call for the immediate suspension of the WTO's financial services negotiations, which aim to further liberalise and deregulate financial markets despite wide opinion that such liberalisation has been a primary cause of the present crisis. War on Want also points to the commission set up by the United Nations under former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz, which has called for existing WTO restrictions on financial market regulation to be repealed.

War on Want's partners in the international farmers' movement have demanded a complete end to the WTO's agricultural negotiations, which threaten rural development and the livelihoods of small-scale farmers the world over. War on Want says the environmental case for halting the Doha round is just as urgent, with the "business as usual" approach advocated by the WTO sure to wipe out any gains from progress at the Copenhagen climate summit.

 


NOTES TO EDITORS

  • War on Want trade campaigns officer Dave Tucker will take part in the protest organised by Our World Is Not For Sale and Seattle to Brussels at 2.00 pm GMT on Saturday (28 November) in Place Neuve, rue de Hesse 8, 1204 Geneva
  • Dave can be reached in Geneva from tomorrow (Friday, 26 November) until Wednesday, 2 December on (+44) (0)7906 756863
  • War on Want executive director John Hilary can be reached in Geneva on Monday (30 November) and Tuesday (1 December) on (+44) (0)7983 550727
  • War on Want's research can be found here
  • The World Bank study can be downloaded here

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

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Time to kill off Doha

26 November 2009, Comment is Free

Pascal Lamy is wrong: the Doha round of talks offers nothing to the world's poorest countries. The WTO has failed to deliver

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TUC Women’s Committee steps up for Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops

22 November 2009, Latest news

We've built up a national profile for our campaign with thousands of backers from across the UK - and the globe. And we've just gained some more, as the TUC Women's Committee gave us its endorsement.

The TUC Women's Committee is made up of members elected at the annual TUC Women's Conference as well as General Council members. The Committee advises the TUC General Council, and campaigns for women's equality in the UK and overseas.

Gender discrimination was a focus area of our Fashion Victims line of research, which underpins the Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops campaign. In Bangladesh, whose sweatshops supply top UK fashion brands, the vast majority of garment workers are women and they are disproportionately subjected to verbal and physical abuse, as well as typically earning less than male workers.

You can take a stand for the rights of women workers in Bangladesh by joining our call for government regulation of the global fashion industry. Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops is only as strong as its supporters - that's why we need your backing as well. Sign up here.

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War on Want launches student photo award

19 November 2009, Latest news

The Document photo award will honour the nation's top student photographers

War on Want has teamed up with key industry professionals and graphic designers to launch Document, a student photography award focusing on global poverty issues. The award, which is currently accepting submissions, asks student from across the UK to depict poverty through landscapes, still lifes or a series of portraits.

Winners will be selected by an expert panel which includes Roger Tooth, head of photography for The Guardian, Stephen Ledger Lomas, photographic director of Dazed & Confused magazine and Lauren Heinz, Editor Foto 8 Magazine. Chairing the panel will be Conrad Tracey from Arts University College at Bournemouth.

All of the shortlisted entries will be exhibited at a central London viewing on 21 - 28 January, with additional dates to be scheduled for Nottingham and Bournemouth.

The award seeks photographic representations of poverty, with a focus on the financial crisis and its impact worldwide. Students are encouraged to uncover the cross-border integration that defines our current economic system, where the decisions taken in the City of London and Wall Street have far-reaching consequences for communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

For more information on the award, including on how to enter, visit Document's dedicated website.

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Swap-a-rama razzmatazz!

18 November 2009, Previous events

Shoreditch revellers danced the night away at a Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops themed swap-a-rama at Favela Chic in London.

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Guilt-free shopping at War on Want

15 November 2009, Latest news

We face an impossible choice every Christmas. Either pay a small fortune for ethically produced gifts, or shop at high street chains that exploit workers.

Now there's an alternative. At War on Want's online shop you can buy great gifts without paying through the nose. Our signature item this year is our brand new Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops tops. Stylish and affordable, these trendy t-shirts for men and women are a great gift for those friends and family members with a political conscience. But they're selling fast, so make sure to pick one up before it's too late.

As always, we have a range of other gifts on offer, including our always in demand line of Christmas cards. This year's selection includes our ever popular Palestine card, which depicts the Three Wise Men tunnelling under the Separation Wall to reach Bethlehem. We also have available our full range of stocking-stuffers, from wool hats to canvas bags, travel card holders to bottle openers.

If you want to buy a truly unique present, then one of our alternative gifts. For just £10 you can help promote peace in Palestine. Or for £20 you can support a grassroots organisation fighting to improve working conditions in South Africa. Check out our full list of gifts here.

All of these gifts go towards our work fighting poverty in partnership with groups on the ground across the developing world.

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Your words ruin Primark’s big day

11 November 2009, Previous events

This morning, we were outside Primark's new store in North London demanding that the retailer end its exploitation of workers overseas.

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Don't let a backlash knock out Tobin tax

09 November 2009, Comment is Free

Gordon Brown has added to the momentum pushing for a tax on global financial transactions. But the battle is far from won

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